most often, not understood. It is a projection of reality, which differs from person to person, and withinone person from one moment to another.This has to be understood as bad news for the ambitions of classical philosophy, and metaphysicsin particular. The lack of appropriate tools and concepts to utter a clear and objective statementabout reality cannot be overcome. This acute problem has also resulted in the existence of as manyphilosophical theories as philosophers, and few of their theories being compatible.
4. The “end” of Meta narratives
and especially postmodernism
in philosophy have understood this problemfully. Jean-Françoise Lyotard: "
I define postmodernism as incredulity toward meta narratives
notes that Lyotard "
renounces the totalizing discourse of such schemes as Hegelianism or Marxism or the faith in scientific progress or the invisible hand of economic law. All are declared language games that are inherently partial and interested, intended to endorse particular relations of power and to privilege certain groups in historical struggles
Poststructuralism with people like Derrida, Lacan, and Foucault, heavily reacted against the insistenceof classical Western philosophy on looking for the ultimate Truth. Derrida deconstructed languageand Western philosophy with his theory of signifiers and signifieds. Lacan de-centered the source of knowledge and assumptions of Western thought by destabilizing self. Foucault deconstructed systemsof social thought, for which he used the metaphor of prisons and the panopticon. It is noteworthy that itwasn’t a centralized power, such as a state, which controlled people in his metaphor, but people are saidto control each other in “power networks”. With this claim, Foucault probably referred to the inflexible,conservative, and controlling attitudes people show in all kinds of social systems, such as cultures,villages, or scientific communities. People are giving up their own identity, their self, in order to beaccepted in the social network. This relates to sociology, more precisely the paper
The Established and the Outsiders
by N. Elias and J. Scotson.
Jean-François Lyotard formulated in
The Postmodern Condition (La Condition Postmoderne)
(1979)a number of critiques on modernism. The term postmodern, which he introduced, corresponds with asynthesis of critiques on modernism as formulated by poststructuralists Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, andBaudrillard, as well as critiques of Heidegger and Nietzsche, who have tried their own way of refuting therelevance of the metaphysical concepts.
The Postmodern Condition
, p. xxiv
Berlin, James A.
Postmodernism, Cultural Studies, and the Composition Classroom: PostmodernTheory in Practice,
Rhetoric Review, 11.1, 1992
______________________________________________________________________________________________ Stefan HendrickxDec 1999